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Author Topic: [Thugs and Thieves] Playtest Version 1  (Read 6240 times)
ethan_greer
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« on: May 19, 2003, 06:49:47 PM »

Well, as the clouds of steam and cooking aromas disperse from the Iron Game Chef competition, in which I was a proud participant, I once more return to my current project.

Previous discussions about Thugs and Thieves are here (Summary) and here (First Draft).

So, now I've done the second draft.  I've bulked up some sections, stripped a couple things out here and there pending some actual play, and rearranged things a bit.  I've also added a table of contents, such as it is.  Click here to check it out.

(Unfortunately, I seem to have lost that first draft.  If on the off chance anyone actually saved a copy down to their machine, I wouldn't mind having it for purposes of comparison; please email it to me if you've got it.)

So, what's it to you?  Well, I'm looking for critiques in a number of areas:
* The section on Magic actually has information in it now, so I'd like to get feedback on how it reads, if it's enough information, things like that.
* The section on Magic Items adds rules and clarifications on how magic items are purchased.
* The text itself - does it scan well?  Does each section lead in a seemingly logical fashion to the next?  Does it maintain your interest?
* How about the sections on NPCs (which is completely new)?  Do they seem okay, or do I need to modify or augment the text?

And of course, any other general comments are always welcome and appreciated.

As the thread's subject suggests, I consider the game ready for playtesting, and will commence doing so as soon as I can.  If anyone else wants to try this sucker out on their own, and then tell me about it, that would just make me all kinds of happy.
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Emily Care
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2003, 12:38:04 PM »

Hi Ethan,

Thanks for making it possible and easy for us to play Beastmaster.  Though you'll have to come out with a time-travel/dimension hopping expansion set for us to play Beastmaster III. :)

Quote from: ethan_greer
* The text itself - does it scan well? Does each section lead in a seemingly logical fashion to the next? Does it maintain your interest?
* How about the sections on NPCs (which is completely new)? Do they seem okay, or do I need to modify or augment the text?


No major complaints about the text.  However, to me, it cries out for lots of muscle-bulging color illustrations and inclusion of color in mechanics. The restriction on turning on party members only when the character is leaving the party is a good example in the game.  Is there anyway that wearing less armor/clothing could be included mechanically to increase your resistance to damage? :) it seems to be in keeping with the genre.  For women esp, the more uncomfortable and revealing the clothes (think chain-link bras & bikini's) the higher the character's script immunity and thus higher defensiveness.  

The section in NPC's is good, though short.  I like how you label them things that get in the way.  What I like about your game is the no-bones about it approach to adventuring.  The mastery of vice and the fact that it's incorporated into the game that the character's main motivation is simply accumulating $$ to feed their pleasures is great.  I can imagine play including the orgiastic spending spree post-adventure, with the money flow turning to a trickle until the adventurers get to sleep in the stable again, since they've spent all their money on liquor.  Since the players are deciding what objects they are going to stock up on, that is essentially an area where they are given diegetic power (up to a point, since the gm decides how much items cost), an appropriate award for their characters' deeds.

Do the players get to come up with what magicky items & treasure they find too? somewhat ala donjon? Or is it standard gm decision?  

Thanks for sharing.  Good luck with it.

--Emily Care
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Black & Green Games
ethan_greer
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2003, 01:55:52 PM »

Quote from: Emily Care
Thanks for making it possible and easy for us to play Beastmaster.  Though you'll have to come out with a time-travel/dimension hopping expansion set for us to play Beastmaster III. :)

On the advice of several friends, I've never subjected myself to Beastmaster III.  Tempted by it from time to time, but never settled down to watch it.  Maybe I will someday... :)

But, yeah, Beastmaster - play 'til the ferrets drop!

Quote
No major complaints about the text.  However, to me, it cries out for lots of muscle-bulging color illustrations and inclusion of color in mechanics.

As for illustrations, I'm way ahead of you there.  Bulging muscles, giant snakes, furs and leather, chains and whips, big stupid weapons, the works.  Probably not in color though.  (For those curious, I'm planning on releasing Thugs and Thieves as a for-sale PDF.)


Quote
Is there anyway that wearing less armor/clothing could be included mechanically to increase your resistance to damage? :) it seems to be in keeping with the genre.  For women esp, the more uncomfortable and revealing the clothes (think chain-link bras & bikini's) the higher the character's script immunity and thus higher defensiveness.

Heh - now that's funny.  I don't think I want to get that silly though.  The mixture of tongue-in-cheek with balls-to-the-wall action/adventure is just about where I want it right now.

Quote
Since the players are deciding what objects they are going to stock up on, that is essentially an area where they are given diegetic power (up to a point, since the gm decides how much items cost), an appropriate award for their characters' deeds.

I'm not understanding you fully here.  There isn't really a "cost" for items - the player just rolls on Mastery, and each roll gets progressively more difficult.  And what does diegetic mean?  Sorry if I'm being dense...

Quote
Do the players get to come up with what magicky items & treasure they find too? somewhat ala donjon? Or is it standard gm decision?

Yes to both, sort of.  The player can say, "I wanna buy this and such sword of whatever," and then the GM can either let them make a purchase roll for it, or do some impromptu role-play ("You ask the weapons dealer about it, and he says he knows an old swordmaker who lives just at the edge of town who might be able to..."), or let the player find a downgraded or similar item, or whatever.  This flexibility needs to be better expressed in the text, it would seem.

Thanks for the input!
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Simon W
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2003, 02:32:04 PM »

Thugs & Thieves is not dissimilar to what I have done with Barbarians of Lemuria. I have even got chainmail bikinis as an armour type. My rules also suggest that characters can have whatever goods/gear they want, because they won't keep it for long - and besides what use is a palace in the city, if you are battling swamp lizards in the endless marshes? My game is more specific to the Thongor Books of Lin Carter though, although it could be used for any barbarian game like The Beastmaster.

Check it out here

Gideon
http://www.geocities.com/simonwashbourne/Beyond_Belief.html
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Walt Freitag
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Posts: 1039


« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2003, 03:18:10 PM »

This game is shaping up really well.

Others have said this before, but the buying stuff/reward mechanism rocks. It's one of those cases where abstraction will serve the purpose much better than a more direct causal simulation. As a player, I know that in my secret greasy heart I'll be really looking forward to those Purchasing rolls. (As will my character, appropriately enough. Effective Sim-Gamist congruence on that aspect of play.)

For some reason, I can't explain why (it's not like the text isn't abundantly clear elsewhere), this sentence:
Quote
The amount of money has more impact on the quality of the stuff upon which it is squandered than on the amount of time that it lasts.

just causes the game's whole creative agenda to snap right into sharp focus for me.

I'm concerned that the openness of magic could lead to some tug-of-war between players and GMs. If I can imagine it, there's a wizard somewhere who can do it, but no sensible GM is going to let my character find the wizard who can cast that Permanent Invulnerability spell on me.

Let me suggest one possible metagame constraint: magic cast or obtained on behalf of the player-characters must address a specific problem that already exists or is specifically anticipated. So I can't just go and have a fireproofing spell cast on me because I think it would be cool to be fireproof, but if I've accepted the job of retreiving the Eye of Garcia from its resting place on an island in the center of a lava pool where it's guarded by a fire-breathing dragon, I can seek out an appropriate spell (or magic charm, or whatever) as a way of dealing with those obstacles. That, I belive, stays true to the genre and puts a useful (but not too restrictive) constraint on magic choices, consistent with the "focus on the present or on the problem at hand" attitude throughout the game.

- Walt
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Wandering in the diasporosphere
ethan_greer
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2003, 06:50:44 AM »

Walt, thanks for the compliments!  (I'm a big fan of that particular sentence as well...)

Your points about magic are right on the money, I think.  I'll have to give this some thought, and possibly a rewrite/reworking.  Your suggestion would work well in the context of an adventure, but what about between the adventures when a character wants to purchase a magical service?  Hmmm.  More guidelines are in order, it would seem, and I'll have to decide what types of guidelines to provide.
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Emily Care
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2003, 09:36:43 AM »

Quote from: ethan_greer
Quote
Since the players are deciding what objects they are going to stock up on, that is essentially an area where they are given diegetic power (up to a point, since the gm decides how much items cost), an appropriate award for their characters' deeds.

I'm not understanding you fully here.  There isn't really a "cost" for items - the player just rolls on Mastery, and each roll gets progressively more difficult.  And what does diegetic mean?  Sorry if I'm being dense...


That's simply fabulous. Sorry for the flowery language--I just meant that since the players decide what they get to buy as opposed to having lists of approved items available, the players are given a certain amount of power to create objects & describe the resources available to their characters.  Diegetic just refers to whatever is "in" the story or game, so diegetic power is power to determine in-game elements.   Your system is much better than that, really.  The buying of things is balanced against the character's over-riding habits/passions, so the amount that they get to buy has more connection to the experience of the characters--and especially to the players--than if they got to do some amount of carousing based on an arbitrary # of gp they get from a given dungeon.  I'm with Walt too---I'd be looking forward to those purchasing rolls too.  You've protagonized the store run. Good job.

--EC
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Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games
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